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Archive for January, 2011

Synapse – Semantic Launcher for GNOME

January 31st, 2011 by

Some time ago a openSUSE user mentioned to me if we had synapse available for openSUSE or what was required to have it around. I took a look into it and asked some advice in #opensuse-gnome regarding the availability of libzeitgeist which is one of the requirements to build this piece of software.

Some time ago Federico Quintero has posted a message on the opensuse-gnome mailing list regarding his work on the Zeitgeist stack. The rest of the dependencies for this package are provided by my work on the availability of Ubuntu’s software on openSUSE. From my work I took dee and libappindicator and builded a test package of synapse on home:ketheriel:ayatana. This package is here until I see this dependencies hit factory on time (libzeitgeist, dee and libappindicator). If anyone wants to test it out, go ahead.

I’m not sure of the functionality that should be present on this vala application, but for the time being I’ve disabled the Application Indicator on the build (needs hammering on the linking). I’ll take a closer look once I have some more free time. So far this should be working only for openSUSE Factory and openSUSE 11.4 milestones.

Synapse is a semantic file launcher (pretty much the same as hitting ALT+F2 on a GNOME session) with some crazy looks and a battalion of plugins. Once the dependencies are ok, I’ll maintain this package and push it to the GNOME:Apps repository.

Superficial notes on interpersonal relations

January 31st, 2011 by

1. Understanding ME

One of the fundamental demands to allow that interpersonal relations grow more richer, positive and mature is the necessity of understanding yourself and others. Each individual is the result of genetic and hereditary aspects, also from the network of situations that develop during his growth, influenced by family, friends, school, neighbors and other persons that are taken by reference by each one of us.

The ME in each individual is built in function of the image that he acquires from the world, in function of experience, of people and situations perceptioned, in short, from the perception one does from reality. The way that we see and evaluate the world and others, develops in functions of the socio-cultural context in which we live.

Each individual is unique and different from all the others, nevertheless, he has to live in society and interact with others, which will be different from himself.

2. Understanding the OTHERS

The first impression we take from someone we meet for the first time, is going to influence our future relation and it’s conditioned by:

* Psychological Factors;
* Previous experience;
* Expectations;
* Motivations;

If it’s positive, it will benefit the interpersonal relation, or if it’s negative, it will make the interpersonal relation harder.

Before someone which is unknown to us, or before someone from whom we only are aware of a few characteristics,  we have a tendency to create a global impression of that person, in short, we categorize her.

Through  categorization people are gathered into pre-determined social groups according with the characteristics we identify on them and in function of the signs we watch on them.

2.1 Social Group

Personal Group – collectivity to which I feel to bellong, as my family, my religion, my professional category, social class, etc.

External Grups – collectivities to which I don’t belong, as in other families, other religions, other professional categories, etc.

The personal groups create their own cultural components, which leads them to develop beliefs about the external groups. Usually we make a general idea about people, often forgetting important particular characteristics.

The base line is on knowing how we organize the various elements that we watch on the subject, in a single unique and coherent impression.

Categorization simplifies the knowledge that we have about someone else, which makes their behavior predictable and understandable. Nevertheless often we categorize others incorrectly, because there are not 2 equal individuals. It is necessary to confirm our categorization e and specially be open to confirmation or reformulation of our first impressions, otherwise we get:

1. Prejudice;
2. Stereotypes;

A prejudice is an attitude hostile or negative to a determined group based on malformed or incompleted generalizations. This generalizations are called stereotypes and mean to provide personal identical characteristics to any person from a group despite of their individual difference to the rest of the members of that group.

The negative consequences of prejudice and stereotypes is on incorrect generalizations that label people e do not allow that them are seen and treated as singular individuals with very own personal characteristics.

We might make evaluation mistakes and prejudice to assume that the individual is what it’s stereotype (race, creed, profession, genre) portraits as pattern.

Interpersonal competences allow us to deal effectively with interpersonal relations, to deal with other people in the proper way to the needs of everyone and to the demands of the situation. An harmonious interpersonal relation implies knowledge about yourself and about the others.

To practice interpersonal relations it means to understand the others as they present themselves, establishing an attitude of empathy, understanding them and respecting their individuality. People differ in the way of understanding, think, feel and act; those personal differences are inevitable.

It is up to each one of us to have the capacity of understanding, and the attitude of accepting the diversity e singularity of others. Without respect for the others, a good interpersonal relation won’t be possible, and it brings consequences to US and to the OTHERS, and eventually to the organization they represent.


I’ve decided to organize this notes and make a blog post on Lizards as I believe that we as a community should promote this issues, as our sanity and future are heavily related to them. In the industry, many companies place a lot of money and efforts to promote trainings and this topics amongst their employees. We openSUSE, as a community should also do the same, as our target is actually people. Any member/contributor/enthusiast of openSUSE is in a way the public relations of openSUSE. Ignoring this fields and not making an investment on them might do us more harm than good on the long run.

As many are aware, I recently applied for the Board, this was one of the topics I was preparing to bring to the Community. My formation is on Marketing Management and not on Psychology or Sociology/Anthropology, and I believe there are people far more qualified than me in the community to develop this topic and maybe to try and deploy it on the field.

To understand this text and it’s goals is something that everyone of us needs to do, and maybe place a bit more of effort in our interpersonal relations with other members. I we can deploy more synergies in promoting the good side of people and not the bad side.

Dedicated to friend which isn’t no longer around, or maybe he is.

Nelson Marques

PS: Feel free to improve the text and correct what you believe that is wrong or make it more objective and better understandable. Feel free to share it.

Unity on openSUSE: UPDATE

January 30th, 2011 by

Unity works as a plugin for Compiz using the glib mainloop. Currently the development version of Compiz available in OBS X11:Compiz already provides this requirement (glib mainloop) as a plugin. This version and two git snapshots I’ve builded were crashing heavilly, so I’ve decided to take  a closer look into Ubuntu’s packages and build from their sources on my devel project. This has proven wise as their snapshots (2010-11-25) with their patches removed the crashes on compiz.

The patches applied include the new unity-window-decorator which works fine. Here’s a small screenshot of GNOME’s System Monitor using Unity’s window decorator (which relies on a patch on metacity to enable UX Shadows).

The theme for this screenshot is Ambiance (also from Ubuntu) with a changed color scheme. This shot was taken on M6 with the newest FireGL drivers from ATI. I’ve noticed some changes on the blur effects on this driver, but I really can’t develop much.

I haven’t seen crashes on individual components when I test them (ex: unity-panel-service and unity-window-decorator), which seems to be a good pointer.

Currently I’m working out in porting the Unity wrapper and some scripts from Ubuntu to the reality on openSUSE as many files seem to be distributed on the filesystem in very different places. Just to name an example… compiz on openSUSE currently stores it’s profiles and stuff on $HOME/.config/compiz-1, and Unity is searching those files on $HOME/.compiz-1, and as such, fails to find them. This is where I’m currently placing my efforts. This should fix soon the ‘unity’ wrapper.

To make this short… Compiz isn’t crashing anymore or seg faulting, and Unity is picking up the information required from different file locations on the file system. Once fixed, we should have a running Unity for BETA soon.

My very special thanks to Malcolm Lewis for making the integration of Unity with Compiz possible in a very nice way and for fixing many bugs that allowed us to successfully build this packages.

As soon as we have more developments, those will be posted.

new osc feature to edit a request

January 30th, 2011 by


I just pushed a new osc feature to git master which allows you to edit a submit action. Use case: suppose you review a request (which has at least one submit action) and you find a small typo (for instance in the spec file) but except the typo everything is fine. So instead of declining the request you can fix the typo, create a new request (which contains the fix + the original changes), accept the newly created request and supersede the original request (that’s basically what osc does behind the scenes).


# request with id 80 needs a small fix
marcus@linux:~> osc rq show 80 –edit
Request: #80

submit:       home:Admin/foo  -> home:foobar/dest
delete:       home:foobar/xxx

deletes package xxx and fixes dest.

State:   new        2011-01-30T15:04:03 Admin
Comment: <no comment>
A    /tmp/osc_editsrr2iDcI/test.spec
A    /tmp/osc_editsrr2iDcI/src.tar.bz2
At revision 1.
Checked out package ‘foo.home_Admin’ to /tmp/osc_editsrr2iDcI. Started a new shell (/bin/bash).
Please fix the package and close the shell afterwards.
marcus@linux:/tmp/osc_editsrr2iDcI> # fix it and commit changes
marcus@linux:/tmp/osc_editsrr2iDcI> exit
Request: #None

submit:       home:Admin:branches:REQUEST_80/foo.home_Admin(cleanup) -> home:foobar/dest
delete:        home:foobar/xxx

<no message>
d(i)ff/(a)ccept/(b)uildstatus/(e)dit/(s)kip/(c)ancel > a -m “accepted request and applied small fix”
Supersede original request? (y|N) y

By the way you can also do it manually (osc rq clone <id>; osc co <clone project>; fix package(s) and commit changes; create a new request, accept it and supersede original request).


January 28th, 2011 by

Arts, buffer, check, clutter, cobbler, colorblind, concurrent, convert, cook, crash, dialog, dump, expect, file, folks, fortune, genius, global, hello, indent, less, links, meanwhile, mirror, screen, sparse, suck, tree, units, words. What do these ordinary English words have in common? They are also names of software projects, which becomes a problem if you want to recognize package names in text. I understand that in the old days, the name of a command or application was only relevant in the context of the computer it ran on, and file names had to be short. Some of these names have allowed for a variety of jokes. But why, in the age of portable programs, WWW and search engines, can’t people come up with less ambiguous names? I mean, it’s not hard to join two words, or, at a minimum, prefix a word with a vowel, like, uhm, a round fruit does. 🙂

Oh, and did I mention that we have over 160 packages with a 2-3 letter name? The one mentioned in the title is a programming language, btw.

A heartly ‘Thank You’

January 27th, 2011 by

I would like to leave a very fond ‘Thank You’ to everyone who has placed their trust in me on the recent elections. The number of votes on me was a true surprise.

This election was probably one of the most important in openSUSE history, mainly to the fact that it’s the Board that is going to push the Foundation forward. I find the results very pleasing and I’m happy to see Henne and Peter moving up to help on those efforts.

Thank you all for an inspiring source of motivation.


openSUSE KDE Team activity, Jan 2011

January 27th, 2011 by

What’s been going on in the openSUSE KDE team this week?  The news on everybody’s lips is that the KDE project released 4.6.0 yesterday.  Naturally, we’ve got it available for download for all current openSUSE releases as we prepare 4.6 for openSUSE 11.4.  4.6 brings better performance and improved power management control to the Plasma workspaces.  The KDE 4.6 application releases include features such as navigation capabilities in the Marble map app, more ways to search your files in Dolphin, and photo sharing via social networks.  KDE 4.6.0 is currently available in the KDE:Distro:Factory repositories.  A KDE:Release:46 repository will shortly be made available, providing the point releases in the KDE 4.6 series.

But that’s not all that we’ve been up to. Amarok 2.4.0 continues to help you rediscover your music, with better automatic playlists and removable device support.  We’ve packaged KOffice 2.3.1 including the realistic natural medium paint app, Krita.  KDevelop 4.2, also released today, is already on our mirrors.  C++ and PHP coders should check it out for its powerful code completion and refactoring support, augmented with better search and replace, improved Kate text editor, and QtHelp documentation support.  digiKam 1.8.0 leads the way in professional Free Software photo management.

The team continues to work to prepare openSUSE 11.4.  The openSUSE updater applet is being replaced by the more polished KPackageKit from KDE.  Our beta testers have already resolved several critical bugs before 4.6.0 was released, and is assessing PulseAudio and the range of Phonon sound system options for the best audio experience when 11.4 is released.  All dependencies on the old HAL system for hardware in KDE have now been replaced with udev, and have received a lot of testing.  KSynaptiks has been configured by default to allow touchpad taps, but disable the touchpad when typing.  And the team has been assiduously packaging new dependencies in KDE’s 4.6 releases so they are fully featured, including the Okteta hex editor plugin for KDevelop, the R backend for the Cantor math app, and the new speaker setup config module.

Artwork and branding for 11.4 is nearly complete, featuring the Celadon Stripes wallpaper by KDE’s Ivan Čukić .  The mysterious-looking upstream default wallpaper ‘Horos’ is also available – just install the package kdebase4-workspace-branding-upstream.  KDE’s Oxygen look and feel becomes possible in GTK apps by installing the new Oxygen GTK theme.  And a number of minor tweaks to the default KDE in a new installation of 11.4 add up to improved performance, for example by deferring starting services until they are needed.

If you want to join the fun or just need a helping hand, the expert and fanatical openSUSE KDE team can be found in #opensuse-kde on IRC, at opensuse-kde@opensuse.org or at http://en.opensuse.org/Portal:KDE.

Share your Kraft

January 25th, 2011 by

Its Hackweek number six at SUSE as you might have heard. Hackweek is great as employees are encouraged to work on a free software project they want. I work on my project Kraft and really appreciate the time that I can spend on it.

What I intend to do can be summarized with Share your Kraft. Up to now, Kraft is working fine for a single user. But what if a team wants to use Kraft and share number cycles (which are base for the document numbering like invoice number), documents and template catalogs? Well, as long as they share the same database, it might work (I didn’t test deeply) but if they happen to be on different locations it becomes difficult. I try to make that possible.

My development target for Kraft is simplicity. For the user of course, but also for the setup. The server to share data, which is obviously needed, must work on a cheap hosting offer, and it must work with a weak internet line. So a database connect via internet is not possible.

I decided to investigate in ownCloud and enhance it with a plug-in called KitoC. ownCloud is a project started by Frank Karlitschek and implements a handy but scalable WebDAV Server beside more. Seems to fit my needs perfectly. Yesterday I implemented the number server function in KitoC after good conversation with Cornelius at breakfast in the office. Not very much achieved yet, but had to learn a bit of ownCloud first. I keep you posted.

Oxygenise your Apache

January 24th, 2011 by

I have updated apache2-icons-oxygen with icons from KDE 4.6 RC2. Thanks Nuno & Co! Now Apache’s directory listings look a bit better 😉

See it in action here. If you want to download the tarball/rpm, go to the Build Service.

Unity, Compiz and ATI…

January 22nd, 2011 by

I’ve finally added the Compiz packages to my development repository and unity itself alongside with some tools.

There are several bug reports on launchpad concerning ATI users, involving RADEON DRM driver and FireGL (fglrx) drivers. Unfortunately for me, I’m also a very happy ATI customer.

I’ve struggled yesterday with some ABI problems on compiz, this was mainly because I had git snapshots from different days, and updating and rebuilding it, really solved the issue.

Today I’ll be implementing the required patches for compiz by Ubuntu,, and hopefully this will enable me to test Unity, this time on a spare laptop with Intel Graphics chipset. I was hoping to pop some screenshots today, unfortunately, I’m having a couple of problems with Compiz that hopefully a couple of missing patches will solve.

I’ve left behind the ‘clutk’ package, as it’s currently broken and I need to take closer look into ‘glew’ and work it out. Something for monday/tuesday spare time.

For the time being, the only screenshot I have to show is the one of CCSM (compizconfig-settings-manager) with the Unity plugin.